Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Mike Resnick's "Kilimanjaro: A Fable of Utopia" (novella, free): A primer on organizing a society afresh

Cover image of the print version of the novella titled Kilimanjaro - A Fable of Utopia, by Mike ResnickWhat if a community were to be handed over a virgin world, & asked to build their ideal society? That's what this story is about.

This is really a collection of stories - some very short - that share common background & some characters. I read it in a single sitting, but may be it would feel less draggy if read a chapter at a time. Chapters are fairly independent - so serve as good markers; but must be read in order.

Stories themselves are about various aspects of social organization & citizen issues: women's rights, citizenship, immigration, interacting with other societies, democracy, reinventing a profession in the face of technological change, evolution of social customs, ...

There are few issues & solutions here that haven't been debated to death in most societies. I've a feeling I would have liked it more if I was in my early teens - less exposure & less cynicism.

Also, story addresses familiar issues often in a very simplistic way - mostly well meaning politicians (when did I last hear of one?), generally rational citizens, ... This is obviously done intentionally - or this would have become a good sized & very colorful novel!

Society is exotic - for me at least. Maasai tribe of Kenya, originally from the region of the mountain Kilimanjaro; their virgin world is also called Kilimanjaro.

Narrative is spread over the first decade of this world - a little before mid twenty third century. Story is narrated by David ole Saitoti, a historian.

Fact sheet.

First published: Subterranean magazine, Summer 2008.
Rating: B
Download full text.
Related: All stories of Mike Resnick.